By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — When the city-owned parking lot at 297 Bridge St. opens next week, it will be free to park there.
The exception to that rule, however, will be Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26, 27, and Halloween, Oct. 31, when the Salem High School band will collect parking fees as a fundraiser. They’ll charge $15 per car on the weekend and $20 per car on Halloween night.
The 120-space parking lot at the former Universal Steel property will open to the public on Thursday, Oct. 24, after months of soil decontamination and construction. The lot is meant to be temporary, to alleviate the city’s parking squeeze as the MBTA station parking is closed for the construction of a new station and parking garage.
High School band director Cynthia Napierkowski launched a campaign this summer to raise $100,00 for drum equipment, marching uniforms and instruments for beginner band students. The parking fees collected this month will go toward that fundraiser.
Band members and volunteers will charge for parking starting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 26 and 27 and at noon on Oct. 31. They’ll collect parking fees both at the Universal Steel lot and at 295 Bridge St., the former Alpha Auto property that the city has leased for commuter parking.